There was a low spot in the round pen and is was a little soggy still. I encouraged Boomer to walk through it and after a few tries he picked his way through very calmly. The reason I had him do this was important. While I would never ask him to go through mud if there was a dry path there may be a situation where we need to cross through the mud on a trail ride. He must be able to pick through it rationally and not try to scramble out or jump out. That is when injuries occur. The more he can look at the situation rationally, the more likely he will be to pick the most solid path on his own.
I am really very impressed by how well he is doing on the longe line after just four weeks of work! He responds very well to all of my commands equally well on both the left and right side. So far, I am really satisfied with everything we have been working on.
After we had a short longe lesson I had John come in and hold Boomer's lead rope. I put pressure in both stirrups and swung up over his back. He was a bit 'quivery' in the hind end, prepared for a buck, kick, or bolt... I jumped down and repeated on the other side. I tried again and he was much calmer so I swiveled around and kicked out of the stirrup so that I was sitting side saddle. Boomer didn't even twitch! I got down and tried it on the other side and then I picked up a stirrup and swung my leg over his neck and picked up my other stirrup! I was on his back! John led him around the round pen at a walk and did a few stops and starts and a turn to the left and a turn to the right. I got off him and praised him lavishly, loosened his girth and took off the bridle. Next time we are out there together I think we will repeat the same exercise in the paddock next to his so that we can work a little better on walking and turning.
After this we hosed him off and fed him on the tarp again!
So, my list of goals is changing and I thought it would be good to keep it written down:
- fear of water (check)
- fear of tarp (check)
- pick up back feet (in progress)
- bridle easily (almost)
- ride (check)
- work on responsiveness to cues
- work or turns and going straight
- fear of trailer